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Noam Chomsky
about
CULTURAL
CLEANSING
in IRAQ

I am thankful for receiving an advanced copy of this important study.  Even a brief look reveals a harrowing tale.  

You can order your copy of CULTURAL CLEANSING in IRAQ here, with a discount of 10% (the offer excludes the US, Canada, Australia)

Hans von Sponeck



Why Museum Were Looted, Libraries Burned and Academics Murdered?

CULTURAL CLEANSING IN IRAQ

How much can a people take?

Former UN Assistant Secretary General and United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. Hans von Sponeck joined the UN Development Program in 1968, and worked in Ghana, Turkey, Botswana, Pakistan and India, before becoming Director of the European Office in Geneva. In his last post he succeeded Denis Halliday in charge of UN humanitarian operations in Iraq in October 1998, overseeing roughly 500 international staff and 1,000 Iraqi workers. Hans von Sponeck resigned in February 2000, in protest of the international policy toward Iraq, including sanctions.

Everyone in Baghdad knew Mohammed Hikmet Ghani. The city was full of his sculptures. They were important reminders of the richness of Mesopotamian history and culture. Iraq had seen much better days. With the few materials Ghani had in his possession, he struggled to convert his artistic spirit into physical form. All he produced during those years reflected the suffering of the Iraqi people forced to live under sanctions and dictatorship. 

Just before the US/UK invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, he had completed a first mould of a group of figures, women standing in a circle and gazing at a box in front of them. “They want to know what is in the box, what destiny is awaiting them. But they do not have the key to open the box”, explained the famous sculptor. The artist and the people anxiously hoped for an end of 13 years of sanctions. Instead they were about to face a devastation and onslaught of unimaginable ferocity. Many are dead today and the artist lives as a refugee in Amman. 

The contours of the human tragedy resulting from the illegal attack of Iraq in March 2003 and the subsequent occupation are becoming more and more visible. Much has still to be discovered and for the wrongdoing a court of justice has yet to be found. In the meantime, the coffers of evidence are filling up.

Cultural Cleansing  in Iraq, a recently published account of the extent of destruction of Iraq’s heritage and the assassination of the country’s intellectual elite has added a new and gruesome chapter to the story of post-war Iraq. Through this publication  twelve specialists, both Iraqi and non-Iraqi, have made it possible to grasp more fully the immense crimes against humanity for which many but foremost the US/UK occupation has to take the responsibility.

Cultural Cleansing in Iraq convincingly points to the profound degrading of a unified culture under the occupation and the eruption of hostile sectarianism that did not exist before. There was a formidable determination by the US Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to implement an institutional and structural clean-up. The authors conclude that there had been systematic plans to ‘empty Iraq from its brain’. The authors provide facts and much circumstantial evidence and refer to ‘genocide by other means’ and ‘historical annihilation’. 

Killer squads on the streets and in detention centers were responsible for the death of hundreds of doctors, scientists, professionals, men and women. The BRussells Tribunal has compiled a list containing 432 names of Iraqi academics and 343 media professionals who have been murdered between 2003 and 2009. These were non-partisan and non-sectarian assassinations. There may be many more the reader is told.

To date there seems little direct evidence of US culpability. Evidence, however, exists of continuous interference in post-invasion Iraq by many outside groups. These ranged from pro-Iranian forces to secret services of the occupying forces, those of neighboring and other countries of the Middle East including Mossad, criminal gangs and others. 

Using historic sites such as Babylon, Ur and Samarra for military purposes and refusing to protect sites of national pride and historic memory including the capital’s museum of antiquity and the national library while ensuring the safety of the ministries of oil and interior are given by the authors as evidence that the occupation forces ignored, without hesitation, their responsibilities under international law. 

A free and democratic society was never the aim of the attack, they contend. They also reject the notion that that the  murder of the mind and the destruction of Iraq’s heritage could be explained by the occupiers’ naïveté or by the incompetence of the US civilian authorities. What evolved did not constitute a series of unrelated and unpredictable mishaps. Robberies and killings occurred under the watchful eyes of occupying soldiers. The world is aware of more. The horrifying pictures of Abu Ghraib prison in the vicinity of al Fallujah which was another location of carnage, are indelibly stored in the minds of victims and television viewers around the globe. The excuse of collateral damage does not hold. Furthermore, the authors note, there exists a culture of impunity when it comes to Iraqi losses of life and personal or national treasure. They consider it malicious to blame the damage of looting of cultural artifacts on the conditions of desperate local people rather than on the occupying force. 

None of the authors claims that direct or indirect accountability rests solely with the invaders. Their point that the cleansing of culture and mind and the destruction of the social fabric of a nation is the result of an illegal war can not be dismissed. Those who are responsible and accountable will certainly disagree. They will have little chance to succeed. The book is a powerful introduction to cultural cleansing in Iraq,  which some prefer to call cultural genocide. The authors agree that their work must be followed up by more research for the historic record, for the public knowledge and for the prosecution of those responsible.  

Hans-C. von Sponeck

* Cultural Cleansing in Iraq, Why Museums were Looted, Libraries burned and Academics murdered, Edited by R.W. Baker, Shereen T. Ismael and Tareq Ismael, Pluto Press, London, 2010          





















Michael
Parenti
This book is a collection of powerful investigative essays that reveal yet another horrific side to the empire's destruction of viable nations, this time through the perpetration of crimes against history and culture. Cultural Cleansing in Iraq gathers together a great deal of hard evidence demonstrating the existence of cultural genocide, the deliberate obliteration of Iraq's rich history and historical memory, its libraries, museums, universities, and laboratories. Equally heartbreaking is the systematic extermination of the purveyors of the nation's culture, science, and learning, the death squad assassinations of thousands of Iraqi intellectuals.  This book is clearly written, historically grounded, deeply researched, and well substantiated with a kind of evidence that is often hard to come by. The events revealed herein are vital in understanding the real nature and full extent of the war of aggression against Iraq, vital in understanding how imperialism  will stop at nothing when trying to make the world safe for plutocracy.
Denis Halliday


Do not read this book, if you are an American or British citizen conscious of the obligations of democracy, who wants to believe that Judeo-Christian morality played some part in your government’s decision to invade and occupy Iraq to impose “democracy and freedom”. For if you do, you may be crushed by its revelations of deliberate state-ending destruction and a policy of cultural cleansing; by your shared responsibility for this human and national calamity; and, despite the near irreparability of what has been accomplished, by the massive reparations needed now and for the next fifty years to begin to counter the consequences of genocide. The case for cultural genocide is powerfully made in this extraordinary and frightening book.  

Denis J. Halliday was the former United Nations Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq (1997-1998). Halliday has spent most of his long career with the United Nations in economic development and humanitarian assistance-related posts both in New York and overseas, primarily in South-East Asia. In 2000, Denis Halliday was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize with Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness, the campaign against sanctions on Iraq.

Uncomfortable although it is, “Cultural Cleansing in Iraq” obliges the “Western” reader to face the unthinkable, that is, the existence of US policy to end - to terminate - established United Nations card-carrying sovereign states. In the case of Iraq, this policy required US military terrorism, infrastructural destruction and human massacre to create malleability.  Malleability, that is, of an intelligentsia focused on sustaining a complex society, and a timeless and intricate culture both essential for the various peoples of Iraq to recognize their unique identity and hard won sense of nation. The book shows that removal, or enabling the killing of such academic, scientific and established citizens was deemed necessary for state-ending.

This is a chilling read into the horror of deliberate catastrophe-making by a British empire seemingly unaware of its demise, by Israeli ambition to dominate and enjoy region-wide presence, and an American empire thirsty for oil and desirous of strategic location that flops around in its death throes smashing the ancient wealth of Mesopotamia to which most of us seek connection.

The model to closedown certain states, created in Washington and endorsed in London and Tel Aviv, and viewed with negligence by other political leaders as acceptable, should be carefully considered with alarm by potentially “inconvenient” countries. Just as Iraq was listed in Washington for destruction before the attack of 9/11, begging for an answer today is which non-compliant state is next for termination?                                                            


Issam al-Rawi

The book CULTURAL CLEANSING is dedicated to the memory of Professor Issam al-Rawi, Professor of Geology, Baghdad University and Chairman of the Association of University Teachers (AUT). Professor of al-Rawi  founded the register of assassinated academics and experts in the wake of the invasion of the Coalition Forces and dissolution of the Iraqi state.  Dr.al-Rawi was assassinates on October 30, 2006, after being targeted to silence the truth.

Samir Amin


 

The testimonies gathered in this work are of utmost importance. The facts, the violations of international conventions, of human rights and those of peoples and nations are undeniable. The responsibility of the occupation of Iraq and their local stooges is undeniable.

It is not about "collateral damage" or, as had dared to say Madeleine Albright, the "price to pay” for the establishing of democracy!

Egyptian-born and trained in Paris, Samir Amin is one of the better known thinkers of his generation, both in development theory as well as in the relativistic-cultural critique of social sciences. He has dedicated a major part of his work on studying the relationships between developed and undeveloped countries.  Promoter of the conscious self-reliance of developing countries, he has written extensively on economics, development and international affairs

It is the systematic and organized implementation of a political strategy whose objective is the destruction of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi nation. It is not new. Did Robert Mac NacNamara (subsequently appointed President of the World Bank!) not determine it the goal of "bringing Vietnam to the Stone Age? And the use of Agent Orange - a chemical weapon in principle "prohibited" – was this not one of the means to achieve this? The enemy in Iraq was not Saddam Hussein (chemical weapons delivered to him by the United States when he led the war against Iran served the interests of Washington), but the Iraqi nation. Who wants to destroy it and why?

 Imperialism is the name of the opponent. This is not a matter of "deviation" of a political strategy of great power. This "deviation" is the means - the only and last resort - essential to allow dominant capitalism oligopolies in the U.S. but also in Europe and Japan, ( their allies) to collect their imperialist profits. This means that access to natural resources of the planet is reserved exclusively for companies in the North (thus becoming the "elected people" "who have more right to live on Earth than all the others!). And this requires the systematic destruction of the resistance of all the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America (a "minority" which comprehends 80% of the population of the planet!).

 Imperialism has always harbored a fierce hatred of all regimes that have rejected the bid. Whether in the name of socialism (USSR, China, Vietnam, Cuba) or simply in the name of national independence (Nasser and others). The discourse mobilized for that purpose by the imperialist powers must hide the real purpose behind the smokescreen of a rhetoric about "democracy". They will therefore accuse Saddam Hussein of having murdered his opponents (which is true), to Robert Mugabe of being an "old autocrat" (which is plausible). They will never tell you that the real crime the former is reproached with is engaging Iraq in industrial and scientific modernization which is deemed "dangerous", and the second agricultural reform. A fight of the civilized West to export "democracy" (the "duty to intervene"!)? Nonsense! The crime committed by Pinochet on September 11 (1973) was not only "apologized", Pinochet has even been congratulated by Henry Kissinger.

 The rhetoric of the "clash of cultures" is the smokescreen behind which the outposts of the military intervention forces against nations of the South hide. It feeds the rise of Islamophobia. But it also fuels today's speech on the new "Yellow Danger" promoted by those who are worried about China’s achievements.

 No, the example of Iraq, beautifully illustrated by the evidence gathered in this book, calls for another conclusion: that the real "clash of cultures" is between those who are part of the "culture" of capitalism: the imperialist oligopolies, the enemy of mankind, and on the other hand the forces of humanism, respectful of the equal rights of all peoples. The North-South conflict illustrated by the military occupation of Iraq and the struggle for "another, better world" against inherent barbarism of the imperialist domination are inseparable. The intervention in the affairs of the South, let alone military intervention - whatever the excuse - does not serve other goals than the defense of imperialist imposed profits, it can only be disguised by the rhetoric of "just war".

 The criminal intervention of the armed forces of the United States and its subordinate European allies of NATO in Iraq - or elsewhere - has no other goal than the destruction of nations and peoples concerned, and must be condemned unreservedly. Iraq has not been attacked because it possessed weapons of mass destruction, but because it had none. The lesson is learned. The South has the duty to develop the military capabilities needed to defeat the military control of the planet by the armed forces of the United States and their subordinate allies of NATO.                                


INVITATION
BOOKPRESENTATION
&
DEBATE
20th of march at 8pm
les Halles de Schaerbeek
Rue Royale Sainte-Marie 22b
1030 Bruxelles

INTRODUCTION

Lieven De Cauter

The destruction of the Iraqi Nation

Hana Albayaty

The assasination of Iraqi academics

Dirk Adriaensens

Counterinsurgency war and death squads

Max Fuller

QUESTIONS AND DEBATE

 

The book
CULTURAL CLEANSING IN IRAQ is a very impressive presentation of what has been, according to the authors, a planned policy of the United States of America in Iraq. The argumentation is very well documented. The invasion of Iraq, indeed, had surely an economic dimension. The fact that the oil dependence of the USA is growing every year, till a probable level of almost 100 per cent in a few years, makes the country try to control the maximum possible sources of fossil energy in the world. Iraq being one of the most productive regions, with high quality petroleum and cheap exploitation, has been a normal target.

Professor  Emeritus François Houtart, Participant in the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal on US Crimes in Vietnam in 1967. Senior Advisor to former President of the United Nations General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. Recipient of the 2009 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence, Belgium

However, another perspective has been developed: the destruction of the State and of the basic cultural-components of the Iraqi nation. This is linked with the imperial character of the US policy and the authors are recalling what happened in Yugoslavia and in Central America. In order to dominate a region, it is necessary to destroy any solid State and if necessary to dismantle it. One classical policy of colonial or neocolonial powers is also to divide society and to increase internal conflicts, a good way to weaken the national State.
The fact that the Bush administration was ideologically oriented by the neo-conservatives added another dimension to the invasion of Iraq. To establish a “mild imperium” over the whole world, as the accomplishment of a “divine” mission of the USA to impose their way of envisaging democracy and to reinforce a market economy, was the basis of the political project. The messianic aspect of such a policy has been abandoned by Barack Obama, but apparently not the other aspects.
During the Bush period, a cultural policy has been also clearly pursued. The destruction of the archeological patrimony, the killing or expulsion of thousand of intellectuals, were facts, which can be related to the will of erasing the historical memory of a people. This is an aspect of the Iraq war that has not been very well known.
The various chapters of the book illustrate this situation: a comparison with similar policies of the USA in other parts of the world, the destruction or looting of archeological riches, the systematic killing of intellectuals, the brain drain, the promotion of minorities’ oppositions, the constitution of an artificial “civil society”.
Imperialism for the USA is not a theoretical matter. It has very concrete applications and Iraq has been one of them. The book insists on the cultural aspect and therefore adds a fundamental dimension to a question generally better known along the lines of its economic and political dimension.                                   
                                                                                           

Howard Zinn, author of 'People's History'  died in California 27 Jan 2010. Howard was a member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee. We were very proud to have him among us. He cared about people, he cared about humanity, he cared about the future of this war-torn world. We will miss him, the people under US bombs and imperial domination will miss him. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends. Goodbye Howard

Abdul Ilah Albayaty



ALBAYATY'S COMMENT

Iraqi elections falsified in advance

Abdul Ilah Albayaty - Iraqi political analyst based in France since 1975. He began his political activity more than 50 years ago. Prominent among those who built the Iraqi Baath Party. His position has always been that whenever there is a force or regime that is against imperialism and Zionism it should be supported, although independence from it should be protected so that the masses accomplish their own tasks in independence, democracy, Arab unity and socialism. He is an independent analyst and activist since 1962. His analysis and writings on Iraq and the Arab situation more broadly has reflected and informed a renaissance in Arab popular resistance. Abdul Ilah Albayaty  is a member of the BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee.

From the beginning of the occupation until now, American experts and advisers are laughing at the men of the political process by portraying democracy as merely a series of mock elections. Democracy is a political system based on the theoretical and effective equality between citizens — men and women — without any discrimination in ethnicity, religion, sect or political belief, and in all aspects including equality of citizens in elections. Any breach of this equality, whether by law or without law, private or public, through good or bad intentions, renders the system undemocratic. And if this equality has not been met, then the election becomes a charade for governors doing it for themselves. This is what happened with the election law voted by the so-called Iraqi new parliament.

It is no longer a secret to anyone that the anti-occupation movement is the first political force in Iraq. Even the United States and Iraq’s neighbours have recognised this fact. Following six years of carnage, arrest campaigns, propaganda, disinformation and deception, the persistence of these forces’ position in defence of the people of Iraq, its freedom and its supreme interests, rendered them a key to the future that cannot be ignored. Infact, several factors have helped in accomplishing this key position. First are the achievements of the Iraqi national government in comparison with the failure of the rule of the occupation.  . Second, the national movements’ renewal. The shock suffered by Iraq could not but produce the rise of a new national upheaval in parties and also among new generations. Third, the growing rapprochement between the patriotic, national, Islamic and leftist currents. Forth, the financial and military collapse of the United States. And finally, the non-acceptance by most of Iraq’s neighbouring countries of what is happening in Iraq.

The fact that the anti-occupation movement is the power of Iraq’s future, either through armed, political or civil action, has made the occupation and its allies panic. What was left for them is to win battles for two days or a week. Thereafter rises to the front the core antithesis, which is between the resistance and anti-occupation movement and the occupation, as the main and decisive battle. The next election is but an episode in this battle. The anti-occupation movement cannot participate in this election and present candidates. In spite of this, it clearly has a strong presence in the political climate of Iraq. It cannot participate for it knows that it is the United States that decides the results of the elections according to its own interests and plans, as it decides laws and rules, controls all Iraq’s affairs, as well as the army and police of occupied Iraq. Any other pretence than this fact is a lie.

In staging elections the United States is working on two levels. On the one hand it tries to lure some of the resistant forces to engage in the political process while at the same time it helps Maliki in the persecution of the masses of the very same forces it lures in order to prevent them from participating in the elections. Why? The meaning is clear. The US does not want lawmakers to have a popular base, so it can direct them as it wishes. It realised that the forced displacement of millions of people, including Baathists, Sunni Arabs, the military and civil apparatus of the state, experts and academics, Turkmen, Christians, Yazidis, Shabaks, Sabeans, and patriots in general, constitutes violations of human rights, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The current attempt to make the representation of Iraqis abroad unequal to the representation of those at home is a continuation of these crimes and a proof of them. It abolishes the principle of equality between Iraqis. The US leaves Maliki’s government and the political actors who support the occupation to do this dirty job.

Albayaty Abdul Ilah                                                                                                                                    


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RECENT NEWS 

The Iraqi Human Rights Centre sent a letter to the UN general secretary detailing the horrible situation of human rights in Iraq. It mentions the irresponsible US action of handing 15.000 prisoners to the Iraqi government that does not guarantee the safety of prisoners and is contrary to international law. They knew well that most of those prisoners will either be assassinated, judged without charges, humiliated to the degree of annihilation or forced to leave the country.

It mentions, too, the case of 19.000 families in Najaf stripped of their rights and collectively punished. These poor people are obliged to leave their homes and city solely for being suspected of being against the local government. This reminds us of the sectarian killings that produced five million refugees and the displaced. It is the modern educated middle class that is targeted. This is the American liberation of Iraq and bringing democracy. Horrible! - Albayaty Abdul Ilah                       

WHY JUDICIAL ACTION? - Iraq: 19 years of intended destruction

Why Ad Hoc De-Baathification Will Derail the Process of Democratisation in Iraq

Having supported and participated with others in reviving the efficacy of people's tribunals as a moral response to imperial war, we turned to — and encourage others to move towards — legal and judicial action. Why?

1. Holding the US and UK to account for crimes committed in Iraq is not the only factor but could be a key contributing factor to ending the killing of Iraqis, which appears a cornerstone of their strategy. While mainstream Western debate continues to put in question the manifest illegality of the war, nothing suggests that a sea change in US or UK policy lies ahead.

2. No change in policy or political figureheads absolves us of the moral obligation to provide redress for Iraqi victims or to establish accountability for the massive crimes committed against the Iraqi people over the past 19 years. While change will only come when accountability has been ensured, and when we fulfil our moral responsibilities and restore the foundations of global humanity, the suffering of the Iraqi people will not end until the crimes committed against them have stopped and been recognised as crimes.

3. The duplicity of the international human rights system, and the weakness of international law, should not block legal action: people the world over cannot afford that the systematic violence and destruction visited upon Iraq becomes a precedent for the 21st century via the inaction of law.

Iraq: 19 years of intended destruction

US and UK military, economic, political and cultural imperialism in Iraq is an outrage, upon Iraq, the Iraqi people, and the world. The intended destruction — or genocide — of Iraq as a state and nation has been ongoing for 19 years. It began with the imposition of the most draconian sanctions regime ever designed and that led to 1.5 million excess Iraqi deaths, including 500,000 children. Against overwhelming evidence of its catastrophic human impact, and increasing international condemnation, this sanctions regime was maintained under pressure of successive US and UK governments for 13 years.

Destroying Iraq included the purposeful targeting of its water and sanitation systems, despite forewarnings of the unavoidable consequences and manifest illegality of attacking the health-related facilities of a civilian population. Iraq was prohibited from rebuilding even basic civil infrastructure, and this infrastructure remains ruined after nearly seven years of US occupation.

Destroying Iraq has also included dropping, since 1990, thousands of tons of depleted uranium on Iraq, leading in some places to a 600 per cent rise in cancer and leukaemia cases, especially among children.

Destroying Iraq included 42 days of disproportionate bombing during the first Gulf War, with civilian governmental offices systematically destroyed. In 2003, having disarmed Iraq, the US and UK launched “Shock and Awe”, an air campaign that openly threatened “total destruction”. In both instances, war, where no distinction was enforced between military and civilian targets, saw the destruction of schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas, and historical sites.

Destroying Iraq has included promoting, funding and organizing sectarian and ethnic groups bent on dividing Iraq into three or more sectarian or ethnic entities, backed by armed militias that would terrorize the Iraqi people, forcing Iraqis to seek protection by embracing their secondary sectarian or ethnic identity, or by fleeing the country. Since 2003, some 4.7 million Iraqis — one fifth of the population — have been forcibly displaced.

Destroying Iraq has included purposefully dismantling the state by targeting and destroying state institutions, refusing to stop or stem — or by instigating — mass looting, and by engaging in ideological persecution, contrary to protected freedoms and rights and entailing “manhunting” and extrajudicial assassination, of Baathists, the entire educated class of the state apparatus, linguistic and religious minorities and Arab Sunnis, resulting in the total collapse of all public services and other economic functions and opening the way for civil strife and corruption.

Destroying Iraq has also included widespread campaigns of urbicide: destroying cities and towns and using terror in order to force Iraqis to accept the diktat of a belligerent foreign occupation. Allied with the promotion of sectarian militias and political forces, Coalition terror in Iraq has led, by credible estimates, to the violent deaths of over one million Iraqis since 2003 alone.

Destroying Iraq also has included recasting and redrafting — contrary to international humanitarian law — Iraq’s entire political environment in an attempt to render the future of Iraq dependent on US and UK strategic designs. Alongside the attempt to partition Iraq and to establish by military force a pro-occupation Iraqi government and political system, the US and UK governments have promoted and engaged in the massive plunder of Iraqi resources, attempting to privatize the property and means of wellbeing of the Iraqi nation.

Destroying Iraq has also entailed erasing Iraq’s heritage and unique cultural and archaeological history, by destroying monuments, museums, libraries and world heritage sites, and promoting chauvinism and corruption in the place of Iraq’s once advanced education system. By control of Iraqi media and promotion of violent sectarian political forces, the US and UK governments presented Iraqis with the choice between embracing allegiance to a belligerent foreign power and pre-industrial slavery at the hands of its local proxies.

 Legal action and global moral responsibility

This is but the barest summary of the horrors Iraq has endured, all based on lies that nobody but cowed governments and complicit mainstream media believed. The US and UK governments instigated, supported, condoned, rationalized, executed and/or perpetuated or excused the destruction of Iraq based on lies and narrow strategic and economic interests, and against the will of their own people.

 US and UK heads of government past and present — from Bush Sr to Obama, from Thatcher to Brown — have each played a key role, along with their subordinates, in the Iraq genocide. The accumulated pattern of consequences, foreknowledge, false propaganda, manipulation and manifest lies followed by systematic destructive actions on all levels, known and condoned, proves it genocide unequivocally.

 In 2003, millions worldwide were mobilized in opposition to war. In going ahead with the invasion of Iraq, the US and UK governments launched an illegal war of aggression. Allowing those responsible for the intended destruction of Iraq to escape accountability means such actions could be repeated elsewhere and that world public opinion will remain unheard. To help re-establish the rights of people everywhere, legal action is vital against those who so wilfully ignored public opinion and led their countries to a war that erased over one million lives.

We are indeed before immoral and unlawful acts, contrary to the basis upon which the international order of state sovereignty and peace and security rests, and contrary to centuries of political struggle against oppression. Whereas official international justice is closed before the suffering of those that imperialism makes a target, through popular, ground-up legal action we can open a channel whereby the conscience of humanity can express its solidarity with justice for victims of imperial crimes.

In reality, the US-UK plan has failed. Against overwhelming violence, the Iraqi nation still resists. Our judicial action and call for further legal initiatives is in support of the right of resistance of the Iraqi people. It also gives notice that the violent aggression of the occupation is unsustainable, as are its lies. In presenting a judicial challenge to impunity, our efforts stand in defence of humanity. Defending the Iraqi people promotes justice, freedom and dignity for all.

When all is said, the question is not why judicial action, but rather how and when.

Ad Hoc Committee for Justice for Iraq

Press contacts: HANA AL BAYATY, Executive Committee, BRussells Tribunal +20 10 027 7964 (English and French) hanaalbayaty@gmail.com DR IAN DOUGLAS, Executive Committee, BRussells Tribunal, coordinator, International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq +20 12 167 1660 (English) iandouglas@USgenocide.org SERENE ASSIR, Advisory Committee, BRussells Tribunal (Spanish) justiciaparairak@gmail.com ABDUL ILAH ALBAYATY, Executive Committee, BRussells Tribunal +20 11 181 0798 (Arabic) Albayaty_abdul@hotmail.com DIRK ADRIAENSENS, Executive Committee, BRussells Tribunal (Dutch) dirkadriaensens@gmail.com

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The BRussells Tribunal is an international network of intellectuals, artists and activists, who denounce the logic of permanent war promoted by the American government and its allies, affecting for the time being particularly one region in the world: the Middle East. It started with a people’s court against the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and its role in the illegal invasion of Iraq, but continued ever since. It tries to be a bridge between the intellectual resistance in the Arab World and the Western peace movements. 
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